Java and ActiveX are technologies for embedding computer programs in web pages. The technology makes it easier for programmers to provide useful services such as interactive stock charts, complex games, and web applications. While it does make the web more useful and interesting, the technology can easily compromise your privacy even if the Tunneler is operating and you have configured your browser to use it.
The reason for this is that the Java and ActiveX environments, called 'sandboxes', are essentially their own little computers running inside your browser. With a few exceptions, Java and ActiveX programs can do anything they want inside the sandbox (Java is prevented from accessing local volumes like hard drives unless given permission - ActiveX has much more freedom). The sandboxes also provide Java applications with information about the enivironment in which they are running, including your IP address.
Java and ActiveX are not required to use the proxy configuration you've set up for your browser that tells your browser to use your Tunnel. So, these sandboxes programs can directly access the Internet, bypassing the Tunneler. They can report your IP address to any server to which they connect, and they can send and receive information without sending it through the Tunneler first.
Therefore, if you are truly concerned about your online privacy, you will limit your exposure to Java and ActiveX programs by turning off Java and ActiveX or forcing your browser to ask permission before executing any Java or ActiveX program.
Here are instructions for doing just that:
To Disable Java and ActiveX in Internet Explorer:
- Open Internet Explorer
- Select Options from the Tools menu.
- Select the Security tab, then click on the Internet zone icon.
- Click the Custom Level button.
- The ActiveX settings are at the top of the list. Set the following options to 'Disable':
- Binary and script behaviors (only present in Windows XP SP2)
- Download signed ActiveX control
- Download unsigned ActiveX controls
- Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe
- Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins
- Script ActiveX controls marked safe for scripting
- Further down on the list are the Java settings. Look for the Java VM settings.
- Set the Java Permissions settings to Disable.
- Click OK in the Security Settings window, then again in the Internet Options window.
Java and ActiveX are now disabled in Internet Explorer. You may now browse the web without worrying about those technologies compromising your privacy.
To Disable Java in Mozilla Firefox
NOTE: Firefox does not accept ActiveX controls, so you don't need to worry about ActiveX, only Java, when running Firefox.
- Open Firefox
- From the Tools menu, choose Options...
- Click on the Web Features icon in the left sidebar.
- Uncheck the Java checkbox.
- Click OK in the Options window.
Java is now disabled in Firefox. You may now browse the web without worrying about it compromising your privacy.